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by Matt Trinder
A HUGE majority of NHS staff feel that the government does not value their extraordinary efforts in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, a Unison survey showed today.
Many of the 10,000 staff consulted are considering leaving the health service as they struggle to cope with the strain in overwhelmed hospitals.
Unison has submitted the findings to the NHS Pay Review Body, with the union calling on the government to give all NHS workers a pay rise of at least £2,000.
This comes as a poll commissioned by health unions showed a majority of the public back wage increases as soon as possible.
Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: “Time and again ministers remind the public about protecting the NHS.
“The government can do just that by investing properly in the staff looking after us all.
“Many are beyond exhausted and feel let down by politicians who expect health workers to give everything but show them little in return.
“The Prime Minister should speed up the pay process to give vital NHS staff what they deserve – quickly.
“Extra money in their pockets will mean more spending when the lockdown begins to ease.”
The Unison survey revealed the extent of health worker disillusionment, with only one in 10 feeling that the government values them.
More than 85 per cent said that they were angry at how NHS staff are being treated by ministers.
Almost two-thirds said that the government’s approach to pay – with calls for an immediate and significant pay rise so far ignored – makes them question their future in the health service.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has given the NHS Pay Review Body a deadline of “early May” to submit its recommendations, meaning workers are unlikely to see any increase until the summer at the earliest.
A Savanta ComRes poll released today showed that 86 per cent of the 2,000 people surveyed backed some form of NHS wage increase, with 40 per cent supporting a “significant” top-up.
An increase would make a “meaningful difference” to staff morale, according to 95 per cent of contributors to the Unison survey, with more than four-fifths saying it would encourage them to stay in the health service.
The Scottish government’s commitment to an early and backdated pay rise contributed to lower rates of “anger and disenchantment” for staff north of the border, Unison said.
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